Friday, November 30, 2012

Dazzling December

This is my monthly list of free and low cost events in the greater Portland area for the month of December 2012.  I compile this list for the homeschool group we belong to, which includes kids 10 and under, but most have wide appeal.  I look for events with some educational or cultural value.  December is definitely the month for the performing arts!  There are so many concerts, dance and theatre performances, etc. that it is impossible for me to compile them all!  More holiday events are listed here: and in the Oregonian:  Also this is a great month for service learning.   Hands On Greater Portland will help you find terrific volunteer opportunities that are age appropriate for kids.  And SOLVE has many opportunities to plant trees during the rainy season.  Most are great for all ages, although you will want to bring your own gardening gloves in kids' sizes.  This month, everyone seemed to disappear when it was time for me to ask for help proofreading the list.  The only one handy to ask was a banana!  Therefore, I urge you to doublecheck any event that you would like to attend for errors, typos and cancellations.  

"World War II Newspaper Display", through Saturday, December 8, Tigard Public Library 2nd Floor. "Stop by the library to view a display featuring a special collection of front pages from The Oregonian during World War II. Presented to the library by a local family, these volumes cover world events from December 1941 to September 1945. We invite you to browse through them. Perhaps they will evoke memories from your family's history."

"Festival of Trees", Little Elves show or ages 5 and under is Friday, November 30, 10:30AM- 12:30PM. Saturday, December 1, 9AM-6PM is the public show for all ages. Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Pdx. $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 for kids 3-12, free for kids 2 and under. "Providence Festival of Trees is the premier holiday event in Portland. Stroll through our village streets as you survey over 80,000 lights on more than 30 exquisitely decorated trees! Vote for your favorite tree and gingerbread house in the festival's "People's Choice Award" contest. Create holiday memories by having a photo with Santa. Kids will want to capture the holiday fun creating crafts in Santa's Workshop and visiting the model trains display. There is always something fun for everyone at the Festival of Trees."

"The Hullabaloo!  Princess and the Pea", Friday, November 30, through Sunday, December 23, Fridays at 7PM and Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM and 4PM, at Theater!  Theater! Arena Stage, 3430 SE Belmont Ave., Pdx.  Free.  Tickets must be reserved in advance- see their website:  "Is she a Princess or isn't she? The Queen REALLY wants to know! Exactly what makes a person a princess? Is it what's outside or what's inside that makes a person who they are? Sooo many questions! You will get all the answers and more at The HULLABALOO! Princess and the Pea - singing, dancing, jokes - you will have a ball!"

Magenta Theater Company presents, "Every Christmas Story Ever Told", through December 15, 606 Main St., Vancouver, WA. Ticket prices vary. "Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season! 

"Portland's Holiday Express", Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 16, Oaks Station, 7806 SE Oaks Park Way, Pdx. Tickets $17 for adults, $11 for children 11 and under, free for kids under 2 not occupying a seat, $47 for a family of four. "Join Santa and his elves on a steam powered and heated railroad adventure along the scenic Willamette River and Oaks Bottom wildlife refuge."

Beaverton Civic Theater presents, "Every Christmas Story Ever Told", Friday, November 30 through Saturday, December 15, Beaverton City Library Auditorium. $15 adults, $12 seniors and students, $5 kids 10 and under. "Rather than redo the classic Dickens' tale yet again, three actors take a humorous romp through the holiday season, when they decide to perform every Christmas story ever told, hitting on carols, icons, and traditions from around the world."

"ISing Light", Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1, 7:30PM, and Sunday, December 2, 3PM, Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ, 5150 SW Watson St., Beaverton. Free, donations accepted. "ISing Choir presents music inspired by the Sankta Lucia (winter solstice) festivals held in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, with branches into English and American repertoire, all inspired by light."

Vancouver Dance Theatre presents, "The Nutcracker", Friday, November 30, 7PM, Saturday, December 1, 2PM and 7PM, and Sunday, December 2, 2PM, Ft. Vancouver High School Auditorium, 5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver, WA. Tickets $12 with a $2 off a second ticket coupon on their website: "The community ballet group offers the holiday classic with dancers ranging from age 5 to young adult."

"Heritage Holiday", Saturday, December 1, 2PM-6PM, McLoughlin House, 713 Center St., Oregon City. Free. "Join us for a Christmas celebration 1850s-style! Enjoy live period music, storytelling, and more."

"Animated Christmas Shorts in 16MM!", Saturday, December 1, 2PM, Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Pdx. $5. "We're celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with a special screening of rare 16mm animated Christmas shorts. We will present 1982′s Academy Award Nominated 'The Snowman', Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Match Girl' and the very rare 1978 Nelvana produced 'A Cosmic Christmas' where aliens resembling the three wise men visit Earth in search of the Bethlehem Star. Between reel changes we will video project the 1950 film adaptation of Charles Tazewell's 'The Littlest Angel' and everyone's favorite Rankin & Bass stop motion classic 'The Little Drummer Boy.' The content in this program is Rated G for all audiences."

"Mushroom Myriad", Saturday, December 1, 1PM-4PM, Newton Road Parking Lot, Forest Park, Pdx. $10. Preregistration required; register here: "Out of the death, detritus and decay of December, rises the fat of the forest - mushrooms. More animal than plant, fungi networks itself throughout the understory and rotting timber, unfolding its fruit like umbrellas to the rain. Bring your raincoat and learn the anatomy and edibility of Forest Park mushrooms."

"Weekend Guided Garden Tour", Saturday, December 1, 11AM, Leach Botanical Garden Manor House, 6704 SE 122nd Ave., Pdx. Free. "Join Gardener/Curator Courtney Vengarick on the 1st Saturday of each month for her seasonal exploration of the garden."

"Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area Bird Walk", Saturday, December 1, 8AM-11AM, meeting at the Backyard Bird Shop at 1419 NE Fremont St., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-445-2699. "This free expert-guided walk along the trails and boardwalks of Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is a great opportunity to learn about wetland wildlife. Smith and Bybee Wetland is the largest protected urban wetland within any American city and offers a variety of wetland and deciduous forest habitats ideal for bird and wildlife watching. Naturalist and educator, Elaine Murphy, will acquaint you with this rich habitat, its birds, mammals, and reptiles."

"28th Annual ScanFair", Saturday, December 1, 10AM-5PM, and Sunday, December 2, 10AM-4PM, Exhibit Hall of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at Rose Quarter. Admission $6 adults, $5 seniors and students, free for kids 12 and under. Traditional music, dance, food, arts and crafts, etc. One of the best cultural festivals in Portland. "SCANDINAVIAN ARTS and CRAFTS: ScanFair is the only event in Portland where all the beautiful Scandinavian traditional and modern arts and crafts come together in one place for a two-day festival and marketplace. THE PIPPI LONGSTOCKING ROOM: Children have a special room where they can make traditional Scandinavian Christmas crafts, including Danish Hjerte or woven hearts and Swedish Julgranskaramel (poppers) to decorate the Christmas tree. SCANDINAVIAN DELICACIES: Eat food on the spot or take baked goods home. Enjoy Danish aebleskiver (apple pancake balls), Norwegian lefse and krum kake, Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, pickled herring and flat bread, rice pudding and fruit soup, Vorm Korv (hot dogs) and lots of coffee. CULTURAL EXPLORATIONS: Purchase books, meet authors, research your family's roots with the Scandinavian Genealogical Society, check out Scandinavian language schools." 

"Champoeg Holiday Gathering", Saturday, December 1, 1PM-4PM, Champoeg State Park. Free with $5 per vehicle day use fee. "Warm yourself with good cheer of the season in this hands-on event where you can make cedar swags, pomanders, garland and ornaments. Listen to holiday storytelling and music while you decorate cookies."

"Portland Youth Spelling Bee", Saturday, December 1, sign-ups at 12:45PM, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. "Are you a W-H-I-Z at spelling? Kids ages 5-18 are welcome to come strut their spelling stuff on the Mississippi Pizza stage. Three difficulty levels give everyone a chance to play. Winners take home fun prizes, and every speller gets a treat."

"The Princess and the Pea", Saturday, December 1, 11AM, Ping Pong's Pint-Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. $6 for ages 4 and up, $1 per year for kids under 4. Advance tickets suggested; get them at Rod puppets by Emily Alexander. "Discover the age-old test of true love. All you need is a charming maiden, a love-lorn Prince, a tiny pea, and a whole lot of mattresses! Laugh out loud as Emily Alexander performs this classic fairytale in her usual comedic fashion, helped along by a gaggle of Princesses and a really big cat."

"Guided Nature Walks", Saturdays in December (except Dec. 22), 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. "Join a park ranger for a free, guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes." December 1: Naturalist Choice; December 8: Secrets of the Black-tailed Deer; December 15: Woodpeckers- Drummers of the Forest; December 29: Lichen, the Odd Couple.

"Let's Lego", Saturday, December 1, 1:30PM, Oak Lodge Library, Oak Grove; and Saturday, December 15 at Sunnyside Library, Clackamas. Suggested for ages 5 and up. "We'll supply the LEGOs; you bring your creativity! Build with other LEGO fans and then tear down your constructions."

Dragon Theater Puppets presents, "The Reindeer and the Dreidel", Saturday, December 1, 7PM; Sunday, December 2, 4PM; Saturday, December 15, 7PM, and Sunday, December 16, 4PM. Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. Tickets $6 for ages 4 and up, $1 per year for kids under 4. Advance tickets suggested; get them online: "An enchanting tale about a little girl named Rachael who is on her way to celebrate Hanukkah. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer collides with her and they begin to teach each other about their holiday traditions. However a greedy inn keeper and his ungrateful daughter just might ruin the holidays by stealing Santa's magic bag from Rachael. With the help of the woodland creatures and the Spirit of the Forest Rachael will teach him a lesson and save the day!"

"Cliffhanger Stories", Saturday, December 1, 10:30AM, Albina Library. Suggested for grades 3-6. "The hardest part of storytelling is getting started! But what if all you had to do was come up with the ending? Writer Teresa Klepinger will make creative writing fun as she shares cliffhanger stories and lets you come up with your own ending. If you want to get even more creative you can add illustrations to your stories."

"Brother Against Brother: Pragmatism, Civility and the Civil War", Saturday, December 1, 2PM, Belmont Library. "April 2011 marks the sesquicentennial of the first shots fired in the American Civil War. This war changed the way Americans approached disagreement and fostered the birth of the one major American contribution to philosophy: pragmatism. One hundred and fifty years later, how can the lessons of this national crisis inform the ways we conduct our current debates? More often than not, conversations on the radio or cable news surrounding the difficult issues faced by our communities and nation are about hardened positions and talking past one another, rather than real engagement with each other's ideas. Linfield College associate professor David Sumner will facilitate a discussion that asks how we can look to American pragmatism to help us move past entrenched positions and engage in productive and civil discussions about important issues."

"Sharing our Traditions", Saturday, December 1, 1PM, Troutdale Library. "Latin America has a rich and diverse musical culture that is an important part of many Latino celebrations and traditions. These traditions have been passed down from generations to generations and must be kept alive no matter where you may live. Join Nuestro Canto in singing traditional songs while learning about their meaning and origin."

"Library Lego Lovers", Saturday, December 1, 10AM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA; Thursday, December 27, 4PM, Three Creeks Library, Vancouver, WA; and Thursday, December 27, 6PM, Battle Ground Library, Battle Ground, WA. Suggested for ages 5-11. "Join us each month for a new Lego challenge."

"Decorative Decoupage Boxes", Saturday, December 1, 11AM-4PM, Gresham Library; and Thursday, December 6, 3:15PM, Belmont Library. "Decoupage is a fun and easy craft for the whole family! If you can cut and paste, you already know most of the techniques involved. Artist Shanon Schollian will show you how to decorate small boxes for keepsakes or gift giving."

"Lego My Library", Saturday, December 1, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. "Drop-in on the first Saturday of each month and use your creativity to build whatever your imagination dreams up! There are Duplo blocks for kids ages 3-5 and Legos for kids ages 6+."

"Opus School of Music Performance", Saturday, December 1, 11AM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA. "Students from the Opus School of Music will be performing inside the library as part of Hometown, Ridgefield's holiday celebration. Listen and be amazed!"

"Vancouver Madrigal Singers", Saturday, December 1, 1PM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA. "The Vancouver Madrigal Singers will perform seasonal favorites."

"Copper Wire Gifts", Saturday, December 1, 2PM, Central Library US Bank Room (free tickets will be given out at 1:30); Thursday, December 13, 3:30PM, Belmont Library; Saturday, December 15, 1PM, Gresham Library; "Artist Kathy Karbo will show you how to create one-of-a-kind sculptures using copper wire, pipe cleaners, colorful beads and ornaments. Gain experience with hammers, anvils and needle-nose pliers. Fun for all ages!"

"Raven Steals the Sun", Saturday, December 1, 2:30PM and 4PM, Woodstock Library (free tickets will be given out a half hour before each show). "The world was once dark and cold because the sun, moon and stars were locked in a box. Based on a Native American tale and performed by Tears of Joy Theatre, this performance shares how Raven the trickster brought light and warmth to the world."

"Seasonal Songs from America's Back Roads", Saturday, December 1, 2:30PM, Gresham Library; Saturday, December 8, 1PM, Sellwood-Moreland Library (free tickets will be given out at 12:30); "In this interactive program of singing and movement, American roots musician Lauren Sheehan brings seasonal songs and stories to life – ranging from the familiar to the obscure. With trademark vocals and brilliant guitar, mandolin and banjo picking, Lauren engages audiences as she plays traditional and original folk songs."

"Nutcracker Tea", Saturday, December 1, 11AM, Tualatin Library, fireside. "A Nutcracker Tea is an abridged, family-friendly adaptation of the Nutcracker ballet by NW Dance Theatre for ages 4 and up. The classic story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince is told with beautiful music, colorful costumes, and delightful dancing."

"The Snowflake Man", Saturday, December 1, 3PM, Gregory Heights Library; Wednesday, December 5, 3:30PM, Hollywood Library (free tickets will be given out at 3PM); Saturday, December 8, 2PM, Holgate Library; Saturday, December 15, 2PM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30 and Capitol Hill is suggesting it for ages 6 and up); and Tuesday, December 18, 3PM, Hillsdale Library (free tickets will be given out at 2:30PM). "Do you know what a snowflake looks like? This puppet performance is inspired by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, a farmer and scientist who in 1885 was the first person to capture the image of a single snow crystal. Sarah Frechette, of Puppetkabob, performs Bentley's fascinating story using a unique trunk show of marionettes and props."

Screening of "Education Under Fire", Saturday, December 1, 2PM, Cedar Mill Library. "Education Under Fire is produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International. The 30-minute documentary profiles the growth, struggle, and inspiring spirit of the Baha´i Institute for Higher Education. Baha´is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college and blocked from many professions. This program is free and open to the public, and a discussion led by Professor Loni Bramson will follow the film. Coffee and tea will be furnished."

"Felted Finger Puppets", Saturday, December 1, Kenton Library. "Learn how to create tiny gnomes, monsters or bunnies from recycled felted sweaters. These make great little gifts for the holidays or goodie bag items for birthday parties. All materials provided. Bring a pair of sharp sewing scissors if you have them."

"Jim Mesi Band", Saturday, December 1, 2PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. Guitar- driven blues.

"Staver Locomotive Holiday Train Event", Sunday, December 2, 2PM-5PM, 2537 NW 29th Ave., Pdx. "Free viewing of live model steam locomotives, opportunity to donate to Friendly House, Live Music, Raffle, bake sale, and kid play area. Come see our new outdoor track!" This event is a must for model train enthusiasts young and old. The warehouse is not heated so be sure to dress warmly!

"The Power of Light", Sunday, December 2, and Sunday, December 9, 11AM, Miracle Theatre, 525 SE Stark St., Pdx; and Sunday, December 9, 4PM, Mittleman Jewish Community Center (Advance tickets for this performance here.) to   $10 adults, $5 students 7-17 and seniors, free for kids 6 and under, family pack 2 adults and up to 4 kids $18.  "Patricia Polacco's Trees of the Dancing Goats & Eric A. Kimmel's When Mindy Saved Hanukkah highlight the human qualities that bring light into the darkness of winter. These stories leap off the page in Jewish Theatre Collaborative's unforgettable performance."

"Community Wreath Making Party", Sunday, December 2, 1PM-5PM, Old Venersborg School House, 24309 NE. 209th St., Battle Ground, WA. Free. "Want to forget about the hectic pace and commercialism of the Christmas season? This free party is the best 'feel good' schoolhouse event of the year. Anyone can walk in without having to pay a penny, pick up a homemade grapevine wreath or swag foundation, select a bow, attach greenery and ornaments, enjoy the holiday atmosphere and even win a door prize. Door prizes are the decorations adorning the schoolhouse. The Grand Door prize is a fresh cut tree from Windy Hill Tree Farm. No experience is needed to make a wreath; attendees have always been happy to share tips, tools and friendly advice, especially to newcomers." Lots more details here:

"Mushroom Fair", Sunday, December 2, 2PM-6PM, The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th Ave., Pdx.  Free, all ages welcome.  "Alongside the mycelium zoetrope, we’ll host an afternoon fair where you can view the sculpture; shop for mushroom growing kits, wild and cultivated mushrooms, and gifts; view video portraits of regional mushroom foragers and farmers; make spore prints; and even taste a few mushroom, mold, and yeast treats. Come down and learn all about our region’s fungi." 

"How Mushrooms Grow, an Interactive Installation", on view Sunday, December 2, 12PM-10PM, and Monday, December 3, 12PM-8PM, The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th Ave., Pdx.  In connection with the Mushroom Fair.  "Artist collective Belly and Bones (Stef Choi & Tony Candelaria) is creating an interactive zoetrope sculpture that presents a fungi life cycle, from mycelia to mushroom. This larger-than-life zoetrope (six feet in diameter!) presents a sequence of sculptures that sprout into mushrooms right before your eyes."

Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra presents,"A Holiday Gift of Music", Sunday, December 2, 3PM, Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 SE Haley Rd., Boring, OR.  Adults $15, students and children $5. Buy tickets online here.  "Now an annual musical-must for many families, our Holiday Gift of Music presents a wide range of lively, festive music--the perfect way to kick off any holiday tradition you celebrate. Join us for a multi-media presentation of Howard Blake's The Snowman, a tale of a boy who builds a snowman one winter's day. That night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life. An instrument petting zoo is available one hour before the concert."

"Christmas Along the Barlow Trail", Sunday, December 2, 1PM-4PM, Oregon Country Settlement Living History Village, 73370 East Buggy Trail Lane (behind the Still Creek Inn), Rhododendron, OR. Free. "This 28th annual celebration is a free, festive gathering held on Mount Hood that features two special events associated with the history of the Oregon Trail, where it traversed around the Mountain's southern flank. This gathering will take place at a former logging camp that was established along this heritage path, that has now been transformed into a living history village. . On Sunday afternoon, visitors will gather at the "Oregon Trail Christmas Village" from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Featured is a traditional holiday festivity held at a pioneer village along a section of the Barlow Trail [i.e., the Willamette Valley-bound emigrant's route over the 1295-foot Mount Hood] with reenactors, dressed in period clothing, allowing visitors to listen in to conversations that would have taken place back in time, interpreting this Winter holiday as it was in our past, making it an ideal event for adults and children alike. There will be traditional Christmas caroling, Native American flute and pioneer flute music, free Christmas goodies and hot drinks. This is also an opportunity to shop for unique historical and nature books, Huckleberry and other Wildberry jams, and specialty products made from this wildland bounty, that would be ideal for gifts, especially for those who are hard to buy for. And, naturally, Santa Claus will be there on duty from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The main feature, however, is 'Christmas Tales of Old Oregon' at 2 p.m., which is a unique storytelling program that takes you from the days of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the rainy and cold Pacific Coast in 1805, to the days of the Oregon Trail and pioneer settlement, and concluding on the slopes of Mount Hood in the early 1900's. Storyteller Michael P. Jones will allow the audience to venture back into time, as his tales make this holiday history come alive with these little known tales that seemingly have been forgotten by the passage of time. The 'Oregon Trail Heritage Day' is a festive Sunday afternoon gathering for adults and children alike. This year's annual festivity will not be the typical Christmas event. Instead, the stories of the pioneers during this holiday season will merge together with traditional Native American flute music. Flute-makers and performers from the "Wy'East Flute Circle" will gather together in 'Echo Lodge', the Cascade Geographic Society's storytelling lodge. Throughout this event, they will be performing traditional Native American flute music on flutes that they have actually fashioned themselves out of wood. There will be free Christmas goodies and hot drinks available for those who attend. And, then, naturally, there will be a delightful visit from Santa Claus who will brave the inclement weather of Mount Hood's infamous Oregon Trail, known as the Barlow Trail, and provide a touch of sparkle and magic to the festivities." 

"Homeschool Archery", Monday, December 3, and Monday, December 17, 10:30AM, Archers Afield, 11945 SW Pacific Hwy Ste 121, Tigard. $6.75. All ages welcome. Archery lessons with equipment provided.

"Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala", Opening Ceremony Monday, December 3, 5PM, Vancouver Community Library. The sand mandala will be under construction from Tuesday, December 4- Friday, December 7, with a lecture on understanding sand mandalas Thursday, December 6 at 12:15PM and Friday, December 7 at 6PM. There will be a closing ceremony Friday, December 7, 7PM. "We are honored to welcome the monks of Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery who will build a sand mandala, a traditional Tibetan Buddhist work of art. While this project can be appreciated simply as a piece of time-based art, in Tibetan Buddhist belief the creation of a sand mandala is meant to induce an experience of compassion as an effort toward world peace. The monks will begin with an opening ceremony, consecrating the site of the mandala with chanting, music and mantra recitation. In the creation of the sand mandala, millions of grains of sand will be poured from funnel-shaped metal tools, called Chakpur, in a fine stream. Twice during the week, the troupe leader (Geshe-la) will give talks on the meaning of the sand mandala. Once completed, the sand mandala will be destroyed in a closing ceremony as a lesson in the impermanence of all life. Some of the mixed sand from the mandala will be offered to the public at this time."

"Getting to the Heart of Nutrition: Health for a Lifetime", Monday, December 3, 7PM, Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Pdx. $5 suggested donation, all ages welcome. "We have all heard that nutrition is important and that healthy eating can lead to a longer life. That's certainly true for food choices you make as an adult, but what about what you ate when you were a kid? Or what about the food your mom ate when she was pregnant with you? Is it possible that those meals can have an effect on your health and lifespan? At this Science Pub find out about research at OHSU that shows that the increase in chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes is a consequence of mothers growing up on the American diet. Learn how the research is being done, how the word is being spread that nutrition at all stages in life is important, and how you can take steps to protect yourself and your children."

"Holiday Concert with Aaron Meyer", Monday, December 3, 7PM, Tigard Library, Burgess Community Room. All ages. "Start your week with a dose of holiday spirit at a rare free concert by this popular contemporary violinist. Feel the magic of the season with his unique, cutting edge music. Meyer's holiday concerts are a Portland tradition."

"Our Sun Reaching Solar Maximum", Monday, December 3, 7PM and 8:15PM, Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium, 26000 SE Stark St., Gresham. $2. "All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky, featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images."

"Homemade for the Holidays", Tuesday, December 4, 3PM, Northwest Library. "Handmade holiday greeting cards, ornaments and other trinkets are so much better than store bought! Artist Eileen Holzman will show you simple origami paper folding techniques to make colorful creations that you can give away or cherish as your own."

"Legos and More", Tuesday December 4, 11 and 18, 2PM, Vancouver Community Library, Vancouver, WA. Suggested for ages 6-11. "Drop in for creative construction with Legos, Clics, K'nex and other fun building toys."

"Oregon Humanities 'From Print to Pixels' Conversation Program", Tuesday, December 4, 6PM, Hollywood Library. "The works of James Joyce are the same whether published in print or pixels. But the question remains: does the Joyce devotee read the same way on page as on screen? Cultural critic Neil Postman said, 'Technology always has unforeseen consequences and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose.' In what ways do e-books serve or change the act of reading? As reading becomes a predominantly digital experience, what effects might this have on writing and on our interactions with information overall? Oregon author Mark Cunningham will lead a conversation about what happens when we change our methods of reading. Please join us for this informative and interesting discussion!"

"The Well-Equipped Birder: Tips on Tools for Birding", Tuesday, December 5, 7PM-9PM, Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Rd. Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-292-9453. "John Rakestraw — long-time birder, instructor, and author — will help you sort through the wide array of tools out there for the modern birder. Whether it is basic equipment, sources of information, or 'toys' for the field, never have there been so many choices to make when it comes to outfitting yourself with gear. This class will provide you with an introduction to optics, cameras, data recorders, books, and online resources. The goal of the class is to help you determine your needs as a beginning or advanced birder, make informed decisions, and connect to resources that can help you achieve your birding goals."

"Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award Book Club", Wednesday, December 5, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for grades 1-4. Preregistration required; call 503-350 3600. "Read and talk about the nominees for the BCCCA and help pick this year's winner! Pick up a copy of this months' book when you register."

"2jazzguitars", Wednesday, December 5, 6:30PM, West Slope Library, and Tuesday, December 18, 7PM, Garden Home Library. "2jazzguitars is a jazz guitar duo featuring Barry Glick and friends. The harmonious blending of their musical instruments produces rich, vibrant music and is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season."

"An Eye to Discovery: An Art Workshop", Wednesday, December 5, 2PM, White Salmon Valley Community Library, White Salmon, WA. Preregistration is required; call (509) 493-1132 or (888) 546-2707.  "Describe! Draw! Create! An art workshop for kids in grades 2-4 with local artist Cyndi Strid. Add curiosity to your pocket when you sign up for this class!"

"Tualatin High School Crimsonaires", Wednesday, December 5, 7PM, Tualatin Library; and Saturday, December 8, 2PM, Wilsonville Library. An a capella choir. "Join us for our annual Crimsonaires holiday concert! These amazing teens put on a great show for the library every year that puts you in the mood for the holidays!"

"AC Gilbert, Inventor of the Erector Set", Wednesday, December 5, 1PM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Free. "A leader at A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village in Salem shares the story of the inventor who created a variety of learning toys that still appear under Christmas trees today."

"Homeschool Program: Explorers", Thursday, December 6, and Thursday, December 20 1:30PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. Suggested or ages 5 and up. "Homeschoolers will learn about famous explorers through arts, crafts and games."

"Bird and Nature Walk", Wednesday, December 6, 9AM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Free. "Join us for bird walk at Hedges Creek Marsh. This 1 ½ hour walk around Sweek Pond is led by the Wetlands Conservancy."

"First Lego League 'Senior Solution' Project Showcase", Thursday, December 6, 6PM, Cedar Mill Library. "Quality of life for older adults is this year's challenge for our future scientists and creative thinkers. Each team of 4th through 8th graders has researched an innovative way to address this year's challenge 'Senior Solutions: Independent. Engaged. Connected.' The public is invited to come cheer them on as teams present their projects before the upcoming county First Lego League competition." This is a Lego Robotics showcase.

"Family Clay Night", Friday December 7, 6PM- 8:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. $20 a session per adult and child pair. $10 a session for each additional family member. Pay at MAC office. Come as a family and play with clay! Includes glazes, firings and 5 lbs of clay. Not for solo participants. This is an adult and child activity. Use of the potter's wheel by instructor approval only."

"Nutcracker Cracked!!!", Friday, December 7, 21, and 28 at 7PM; Saturday, December 8, 22, and 29 at 2PM and 7PM; and Sunday, December 9, 23, and 30 at 4PM, Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. Tickets $6 for ages 4 and up, $1 per year for kids under 4. Advance tickets suggested; get them online: "Our wacky sendup of the beloved Nutcracker Ballet. -- You've never seen a version quite like this - Imagine -- the entire ballet in 38 minutes - What a time saver!! It's a miniature satire of epic proportions, with Tchaikovsky's enchanting music, and 84 new rod puppets. It came out wild and crazy - and oddly enough appropriate and fun for children as well."

Dennis' 7 Dees hosts "Reindeer Magic!", Friday December 7, 3PM- 5PM, Lake Oswego Garden Center, 1090 McVey Ave., Lake Oswego, OR; Saturday, December 8, 12PM-4PM, Eastside Garden Center, 6025 SE Powell Blvd. Pdx.; and Sunday, December 9, 12PM-4PM, Cedar Hills Garden Center, 10455 SW Butner Rd., Portland. "Bring the whole family to visit Santa's reindeer and create magical holiday memories. Kids will enjoy festive make-n-take activities, cookies, hot cocoa and cider while enjoying the magical company of Santa's Reindeer and listening to holiday tunes. Don't forget to bring your camera for a festive photo opportunity with Santa and his reindeer!"

"Portland Area N-Trak Model Railroad Club Holiday Open House", Fridays 3PM-6PM, Saturdays and Sundays 11AM-6PM, December 7 through December 23, Dairyville Village at Alpenrose Dairy, 6149 SW Shattuck Rd., Pdx. Free. This coincides with Christmas in Dairyville. "The public is invited to come visit us during this Christmas Season. Come see our train layouts and Storybook Lane (live animals) and Santa too!"

"Christmas in Dairyville", Fridays 3PM-6PM, Saturdays and Sundays 11AM-6PM, December 7 through December 23, Dairyville Village at Alpenrose Dairy, 6149 SW Shattuck Rd., Pdx. Free. "The Magic is Here! 
We are partnering with 4-H of Multnomah county to offer free admission to this Portland family tradition for people of all ages to enjoy. Our old western town has been transformed into a winter wonderland where you are invited to peek at the animals on display in nostalgic Storybook Lane, stroll Dairyville's vintage storefronts, enjoy refreshments, listen to local choirs sing, watch old holiday movies in the Opera House and, of course, have a visit with Santa! This year, the 4-H is proud to offer professional Santa photography to capture precious memories in a range of packages that benefit the club's efforts to bring youth programs to the community."

"Christmas Revels 2012", Friday, December 7 through Sunday December 16, Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison St., Pdx. Ticket prices vary. Not cheap, but pretty cool, so I'm including it here. "This December The Christmas Revels invites audiences to enjoy early American and Appalachian music, dance and cultural traditions as we visit the members of a small Appalachian mountain community celebrating the shortest day of the year. Expect beautiful early American songs and carols, toe-tapping tunes and high-energy clogging and square dancing to chase the winter darkness away. Audiences will enjoy glorious singing from our auditioned 70 person chorus, as well as superb local actors and musicians partnering with special guest artist Suzannah Park. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Suzannah has traveled the world with Northern Harmony and Village Harmony, and her roots are deep in Appalachian music and dance traditions. As always, audience members will have a chance to sing along and join the revelry in this family-friendly show." 

"Christmas Ship Parade", Friday, December 7 through Friday, December 21, locations and times vary. See website for details: "2012 marks the 58th year for the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, Oregon. The Christmas Ship Fleet averages about 55 to 60 boats between the two Columbia and Willamette River fleets. Both fleets will be out most every night for two weeks beginning December 7, 2012 and running nightly through December 21, 2012. The fleet will do a special performance in Camas, WA on Dec. 1st. As we are an all volunteer organization, not all the boats make it out every night." 

"Pearl Harbor Day", Friday, December 7, 5PM-8:30PM, Museum of the Oregon Territory, 211 Turnwater Dr., Oregon City. Free. "On Friday, December 7th the Clackamas County Historical Society will once again commemorate what FDR called "the date that will live in infamy," and which called to action "the greatest generation", at home and abroad. CCHS's Museum of the Oregon Territory will be open all evening, with hands-on exhibits and displays appealing to all ages. Educational and entertaining elements include private collector's memorabilia, war equipment and weaponry, a soldier camp reenactment, a 1943 jeep, and NORDPACs WWII era radio-controlled model tanks, which will "do battle" starting at 5 p.m. This year's Pearl Harbor Evening presents a unique historic perspective on this trying but unifying time. Award winning novelist Kristina McMorris ('Bridge of Scarlet Leaves') will speak at 7:15 p.m. on the special sacrifices and contributions of West-Coast Americans of Japanese descent. She will be joined by internment camp survivor Mr. Henry Sakamoto. Pearl Harbor Day sent the United States on a path of purpose to defeat the Axis countries in World War II. This free event invites you to step back in time, hear the songs of the '40's, and see the relics that WWII soldiers and their loved ones carried, from women's compacts, cigarette cases and cologne bottles, to knobby grenades." 

"Northwest Library Comic Club", Friday, December 7 and Friday, December 28, 3:15PM, Northwest Library. "Do you love to draw? Do you love comics? Join the Comic Club! Each month make your own comic and then trade with friends. Lead by artist Kanani Miyamoto with help from library staff, kids will learn drawing techniques, research skills and have fun!"

"Literary Arts Readings", Friday, December 7, 7PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. Free. "Multnomah Arts Center Literary Arts Program instructors and students will read their poetry, fiction and nonfiction in a celebration of the written word."

"Narnia", Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 23, Theatre in the Grove, 2028 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove. Tickets $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and youth 17 and under. "Theatre in the Grove is proud to present the first and most famous story of The Chronicles of Narnia. Directed by TITG veteran Michelle Friend, NARNIA is a musical presentation that transports you to a unique, enchanted world filled with creatures and spirits of myth and fable, both good and evil, demonic and transcendent. The principal inhabitants, however, are the intelligent talking animals ruled by the majestic King Aslan, the great lion of Narnia. Though Aslan is often absent from the land (so that his very existence is doubted by some), he returns when the need for him is greatest. And entering Narnia at a moment of high adventure are some children – plucked from our world in unexpected ways to help Narnia and to learn from their Narnia odyssey lessons of courage, unselfishness and wisdom that will help them grow. Your spirits will soar with all those in Narnia! Songs include: Narnia (You Can't Imagine), Wot a Bit a Spring Can Do, Turkish Delight and Deep Magic."

"Brick Builders", Saturday, December 8, 10:30AM, Beaverton Library. "A drop-in program where kids ages 3-5 can play with Duplo blocks and kids ages 6-11 can play with LEGOs."

"Chanukah Menorah Lighting", Saturday, December 8, 6:30PM, Director Park, SW Park Ave. and Yamhill St., Pdx. "Celebrate the first night of Chanukah with Chabad of Oregon. Music, dancing, free latkes, and the lighting of the Menorah by a special guest." Each day throughout Chanukah they will light the Menorah at different times. See Portland Parks calendar for details:

"Christmas in the Country", Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9, 11AM-4PM, Philip Foster Farm, 29912 SE Highway 211, Eagle Creek, OR. Admission $5 per person or $20 per family. "Enjoy free cookies and cider as you join Santa in the parlor for photos. Christmas trees, wreaths, historic books and toys and home-made crafts for sale. Carolers and traditional music all day."

"Christmas at Fort Vancouver", Saturday, December 8, 10AM-3PM, Fort Vancouver National Historic Sit, 1001 E 5th St., Vancouver, WA. $3 for adults and free for ages 15 and under. "Experience the sights and sounds of the 1840s holiday season at Christmas at Fort Vancouver. At the park's annual Christmas at Fort Vancouver event, you can mark the occasion today as the employees of the Hudson's Bay Company did in the 1840s. Enjoy caroling by the Madrigal Singers, toy top, wreath and handcraft making, nonalcoholic holiday beverages, holiday stories, holiday artifacts, children's games, holiday music and dancing, and blacksmithing and black powder demonstrations! New this year is a completely unique holiday photo opportunity - pose in old-fashioned holiday scenes with costumed re-enactors for a photo that's truly one of a kind (please bring your own camera to capture your scene). "At Christmas at Fort Vancouver last year, we realized the public had a lot of fun taking photos alongside our costumed re-enactors," begins Cassie Anderson, park ranger. "This year, we're giving you more of a chance to do just that! Bring your own camera, and pose by costumed volunteers in the festive atmosphere of the fort. Whether you gift, frame, email, facebook, or instagram your photo, we hope it helps you remember a holiday celebration unlike any other in your national park." Historic background and costumed re-enactors are provided (costumes are for re-enactors only; members of the public will be in their own modern clothes). Don't forget to bring your own camera to capture the scene! Christmas at Fort Vancouver expresses how the employees at Hudson's Bay Company celebrated the festive time around Christmas and New Year's Day. After months of hard work, it was one of the few times in the year when all the employees of the Hudson's Bay Company were off from work and able to celebrate together. 'Holidays and festivities are universal,' says Cassie Anderson, park ranger. 'Connect to your friends and family while you connect to your national park by crafting fun, historic mementos - like wreaths and tops - to take home or give to others this holiday season.' Schedule of events at the reconstructed fort: 10:00-11:30 a.m. - Christmas Caroling by the Madrigal Singers 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - Ongoing Hands-On Activities: ·Build your own toy top ·Taste apple wassail- Craft your own miniature wreath- Gather 'round for a winter story ·Play games of the 1840s·Make your own Victorian handcraft ·Pose for a holiday photo ·Check out artifacts of a holiday feast ·Kitchen open for demonstration ·Blacksmith shop open for demonstration 11:00 a.m. - Blast of Black Powder! Historic Weapons Demonstration 1:00-3:00 p.m. - Learn a holiday jig and sing along to carols! Participatory music and dancing in the Counting House 2:00 p.m. - Blast of Black Powder! Historic Weapons Demonstration"

"Recycle Music", Saturday, December 8, 1PM, Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA. Free. "Kids and families are invited to enjoy the merriment during this lively Second Saturday event as everyday household items are used to make music. Join us in crafting a variety of musical instruments with items from your home."

"22nd Annual Tuba Christmas Concert", Saturday, December 8, 1:30PM, Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown. Free. "Downtown will pulse with the melodic sounds of big brass as over 200 tubas play in unison for the 22nd Annual Tuba Christmas Concert in the heart of downtown. This seasonal performance is free for the public to enjoy during one of the busiest shopping days in downtown."

"Children's Norwegian-American Christmas Party", Saturday, December 8, 1PM-4PM, Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th Ave., Pdx. Free. "Giant Christmas tree, holiday songs (in Norwegian and English) endless homemade Norwegian cookies and a visit with Julenisse (Santa) – it's a perfect child's Christmas at Norse Hall – magical for grown-ups, too!"

"Birding in Westmoreland Park", Saturday, December 8, 9AM-11AM, meeting near the park's NW corner at SE 22nd and Bybee Blvd. "Join Audubon Society leaders Max Smith and Sarah Swanson for a morning walk through southeast Portland's Westmoreland Park. Max and Sarah will share tips for identifying the waterfowl, gulls, and songbirds that gather at this park each winter."

"Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour", Saturday, December 8, 10AM-12:30PM, Lone Fir Cemetery, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation, which goes towards headstone restoration and educational programs. "Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland's founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers' monument." Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history.

"The Great Train Expo", Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9, 10AM-4PM, Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Dr., Pdx. Admission for both days is $7 for adults, free for kids 11 and under. Exhibitors, working model railroad displays, trains kids can operate, and a riding train for kids.

"Life in Space", Saturday, December 8, 11AM, St. Johns Library; Saturday, December 8, 3PM, Kenton Library. "What do you wear when going to space? Join staff from the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum to learn about the environment of outer space. Since humans cannot live in space, we have to wear a space suit, which acts like a mini spacecraft and lets an astronaut hang out outside in the vacuum of space. You can even check out a real space suit and helmet. Fun for all ages!"

Author Talk, "Seth Casteel", Sunday, December 9, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "From the water's surface, it's a simple exercise: a dog's leap, a splash, and then a wet head surfacing with a ball, triumphant. But beneath the water is a chaotic ballet of bared teeth and bubbles, paddling paws, fur and ears billowing in the currents. From leaping lab to diving dachshund, the water is where a dog's distinct personality shines through; some lounge in the current, paddling slowly, but others arch their bodies to cut through the water with the focus and determination of a shark. In more than eighty portraits by award-winning pet photographer and animal rights activist Seth Casteel capture new sides of our old friends with vibrant underwater photography that makes it impossible to look away. Each image bubbles with exuberance and life, a striking reminder that even in the most loveable and domesticated dog, there are more primal forces at work. In Underwater Dogs, Seth Casteel gives playful and energetic testament to the rough-and-tumble joy that our dogs bring into our lives."!/home

"Silver Falls Christmas Festival", Saturday, December 8, and Sunday, December 9, 11AM-4PM, Silver Falls State Park, South Falls Lodge and surrounding area. Admission free with $5 day use fee per vehicle; some crafts have a fee for materials. "Engage in various Christmas time crafts—make a wreath, a gingerbread house, cards, and ornaments. Learn how the park changes during the winter. Enjoy storytelling for kids and live music. Special appearances by JR Beaver and Santa."

"Local Author Visit- Alan Howard", Saturday, December 8, 2PM, Sherwood Library, Community Meeting Room. "Join us for a reading and discussion of 'In Time' with Alan Howard. Alan has lived in the Tigard and Sherwood area since the early 1980's. He taught AP English and creating writing at Sherwood High School for 15 years. 'In Time,' an anthology of poetry and short stories is his first published book. It is a coming of age fiction of two brothers growing from adolescence to young adults in rural Oregon. Alan is retired and lives in Tigard."

"Quizissippi Jr.- for kids!", Saturday, December 8, sign up starts at 12:45, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. "Why should grown-ups have all the fun? Portland's only kid-friendly trivia event invites your whole family to 'the best trivia on Saturday afternoons on Mississippi Avenue.' Questions for both adults and kids, multimedia clips, physical challenges, and plenty of great music mean a fun challenge and a good time for all. Teams of up to five players play FREE for fun prizes."

"Lucia Fest", Saturday, December 8, 3PM, Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7810 NE 15th St., Pdx. $6 per person or $20 per family. "Come experience a wonderful Scandinavian winter tradition celebrating the beginning of the Christmas season with yummy refreshments downstairs afterward!"  More about the Lucia Fest tradition here:

"Portland Origami Paper Shapers", Sunday, December 9, 1:30PM, Belmont Library. "Enjoy origami-paper folding for fun, relaxation and stretching your brain. Learn a new origami project each month with various local origami instructors."

"Fernhill Wetlands Bird Walk", Sunday, December 9, 8AM-11AM, meeting at the Backyard Bird Shop at 11429 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy., Beaverton. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-626-0949. "Join wildlife expert, Elaine Murphy, for a free morning jaunt to Fernhill Wetland's. Viewing stands and trails at this birding hotspot are ideal for watching the thousands of migratory and wintering birds that use this wetland near the confluence of Gales Creek and the Tualatin River. Watch for shorebirds on the mudflats and waders in the rushes and reeds too."

"German Christmas Concert (Weihnachtskonzert)", Sunday, December 9, 3PM, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 5415 SW Powell Blvd., Pdx. $7 adults, $5 students, children 11 and under free. Liedertafel Harmonie and Encore Brass perform. "Traditional German Christmas baked treats and coffee after the concert are included in the price."

"Dickens Carolers", Monday, December 10, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx. Free. They will also be performing at many places around town (McMenamin's hotels, malls, cultural institutions, etc. throughout December so check out their list of public appearances: "Traditional and contemporary holiday tunes."

"Parlor of Wonders Magic Show", Tuesday, December 11, 7PM, Tigard Library, Burgess Community Room. "Do you know what prestidigitation is? Find out at a magic show filled with wonder, laughs, music and authentic prestidigitation! You won't believe your eyes as Alexander, Master of Marvels, makes objects appear, vanish, then reappear! Be amazed as the Master of Marvels himself performs the awe-inspiring library trick! You won't want to miss this one, folks."

"The History of Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park", Tuesday, December 11, 7PM, Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Pdx. Free. "Spend an evening with local author, Marcy Houle (author of One City's Wilderness), as she tells the stories of the people behind Portland's great outdoor spaces. Marcy is a native Oregonian with a deep connection and love for Portland's open spaces. An avid explorer, she loves hiking Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park - learn about their history!"

"Water, Electronics and Energy", Tuesday, December 11, 7PM, Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., Pdx. Minors welcome with an adult. $5 suggested donation. "We all know that water is essential to life. With energy from the sun, water is converted to the food that we eat and the oxygen that we breathe by the chemical factories that we call plants. But, did you know that water chemistries are being developed to provide industrial factories with new ways to make electronic gadgets like smartphones and solar cells? Such developments are enabling a transformational approach to environmentally responsible manufacturing. Come explore how we turn rocks into computers and how the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry is contributing to a clean and sustainable future through chemistry."

"Photographing the Secret Worlds of Nature", Tuesday, December 11, 7PM, Audubon Society of Portland, Heron Hall, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. "What is the exact wingbeat sequence and leg position of a bee or a dragonfly in flight? What does a coho salmon look like just before it emerges from the egg? How do frogs land a spectacular jump? How do bats use their wings to maneuver? Which creatures drink at a waterhole at night? It's hard to find the answer to these natural events that take place at lightning speed or in the dark or in hidden spaces. But it is so cool to know! Internationally published photographer Michael Durham has uncovered the answers by using the camera to see beyond what the human eye can perceive. Using unconventional techniques and custom equipment, Michael explores the secretive and hidden side of nature. He states that "So much of the complex web of life that connects everything in an ecosystem together is just out of sight, but a camera can be used to reveal what the human eye misses." Join us for Nature Night on December 11 as Michael shares his knowledge and extraordinary photographs." Check out the amazing photos on his website: 

"Sacred Tibetan Art: The Sand Mandala Project Opening Ceremony", Tuesday, December 11, 6:30PM, Central Library Collins Gallery. Come watch them make the mandala until Sunday, December 16. "The monks of Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery begin work on their sand mandala with a consecration ceremony of music and multiphonic chanting."

"Art Right Off the Page: Pop-up Books", Wednesday, December 12, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for grades 2-5. Preregistration required; call 503-350-3600 to register. "Kids learn about the wonderful people who illustrate children's book and the art-making process. Each session includes an art adventure emphasizing artistic style of selected illustrators."

"OMSI's Altered States", Wednesday, December 12, 3PM, Cascade Park Library, Vancouver. "Explore the unique properties of solids, liquids, gases and plasmas. Observe how materials change from one state of matter to another. See freezing, flowing and glowing phenomena!"

"'Twas the Night Before Christmas with Mrs. Claus and Company", Thursday, December 13, 7PM, Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. Tickets $6 for ages 4 and up, $1 per year for kids under 4. Advance tickets suggested; get them online: "Mayhem ensues as Mrs. Claus tries to read Clement Moore's beloved classic poem. All of your favorite North Pole characters join in the fun to make this a reading you'll never forget."

"Lego Builders", Thursday, December 13, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for ages 3-8. "Come and play with Legos and Duplo blocks."

"Winter Science Fun", Friday, December 14, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for grades 1-5. Preregistration required; call 503-350-3600. "Join us as we explore the world of science doing fun activities, testing our results, and even making slime!"

"The Adventures of Oliver Twist", Friday, December 14, and Saturday, December 15 at 7PM, and Sunday, December 16 at 2:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. Free. Presented by Multnomah Arts Center's Studio Theatre Class.

"The Nutcracker Ballet", Friday, December 14, 8PM, Saturday, December 15, 2PM and 6PM, and Sunday, December 16, 5PM, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave., Pdx. $23 for adults and kids 9 and over, $17 for seniors and kids 8 and under; tickets available online: "The Classical Ballet Academy once again presents its acclaimed annual production of 'The Nutcracker'."

"Sacred Tibetan Art: World Peace Starts with a Meaningful Life", Friday, December 14, 12PM, Central Library US Bank Room. "In this special presentation, the Venerable Geshe Tenphel from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery will describe the history and meaning of the sand mandala within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The six monks creating the mandala are on their first visit to the western world, and Geshela will share what they hope to accomplish by creating this ancient and unique piece of artwork. He will speak about how a healthy attitude about everyday living can lead to a contented and happy life. As more people experience love and compassion, we will create peaceful communities, and ultimately a peaceful world. This event is part of the week-long creation of the sand mandala in the Collins Gallery."

"Winter Solstice Bonfire and Christmas Ships", Saturday, December 15, 4PM-6PM, Milwaukie Riverfront at the Jefferson Street Boat Ramp. "According to the Christmas Ship Schedule at 5:00PM both fleets will leave RiverPlace Marina (downtown Portland) headed to Lake Oswego. They will pass by Milwaukie around 5:30pm, subject to weather and river conditions. The ships will go as far as George Rogers Park and then turn back to Portland. • View The Christmas Ships around 5:30 p.m.
• Purchase Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Hot Dogs and Desserts
• Listen To the Dickens Carolers
• Warm By The Bonfire."

"Lichen to Moss", Saturday, December 15, 1PM-4PM, Newton Road Parking Lot, Forest Park, Pdx. $10. Preregistration required; register online: "From floor to canopy, lichen and moss hold the forest together. These sensitive, soft species show forest health and biodiversity in perpetual living color. Whether it's the nitrogen-fixing lover's moss or the flying-squirrel-fueling brown beard lichen, these often-overlooked organisms are of great importance. Come and experience a small new world in a big old forest."

"From the Inside Out", Saturday, December 15 1:30PM, McLoughlin House, 713 Center St., Oregon City. Free. "Ever wondered what Victorian ladies wore underneath those fancy clothes? Listen to a fascinating encore lecture by local historian and textile expert Marge Harding about undergarments of the 1800s!"

"Holiday Singalong", Saturday, December 15, 2PM, Forest Grove Library. "Holiday sing along with the Band Snax. Song sheets with lyrics will be provided."

"Birding at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge", Saturday, December 15, 8AM-11AM, meeting at the trailhead parking lot on the Carty Unit, 1 mile n. of the intersection of Pioneer and Main Streets in Ridgefield, WA. "Join the Audubon Society on this walk as we look for winter sparrows and waterfowl. The trail can be muddy so bring appropriate hiking shoes."

"Posada Milagro", Sunday, December 16, 1PM, El Centro Milagro, 537 SE Stark St., Pdx.  Free tickets will be given out at 1PM.  "Miracle Theatre Group invites the whole family to enjoy the Posada Milagro. This community celebration filled with Latin American traditions reflects upon the journey of Mary and Joseph in their search for refuge and is day of fun for the whole family! This year's celebration will feature 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. performances of an original pastorela, live music and folkloric dance. Throughout the afternoon there also be arts and crafts activities for kids, storytelling for children under 5 years old, a piñata for all ages and, of course, traditional foods for purchase. Admission to the event is free, but performances are limited to ticket-holders only. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the theatre beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 16. Guests are encouraged to bring donations of canned food for the Oregon Food Bank."

"Sacred Tibetan Art: The Sand Mandala Project Closing Ceremony", Sunday, December 16, 3PM, Central Library Collins Gallery. "The sand mandala is blessed by the monks, and then destroyed as the sands are swept to the center. Some sand will be available to audience members. Music, chanting and prayer will accompany the destruction. The remaining sand will be carried in a procession to the Willamette River (weather permitting)."

"London to London", Wednesday, December 19, 7PM, Tualatin Library. "Kid's Company NW, a talented troupe of performers ages 8 to 15, is coming your way with London is London. Set in long ago London, the story follows a group of young street performers trying to make a 'tuppence or two' as Christmas nears. Music includes 'Christmas is Coming,' 'December the Twenty Fifth' and seven more great songs. The fun script, lively music and dance and colorful costumes will tickle your funny bone and warm your holiday heart!"

"Beth Willis Duo", Wednesday, December 19, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. "The Beth Willis Duo will be playing acoustic originals, covers from current top 40 back to the 1940s, and holiday favorites. New to the music scene, the duo has already played such legendary houses as the Viper Room in Los Angeles and the House of Blues Las Vegas, as well as numerous regional festivals and international shows. Beth was named Best Female Artist at the 2012 Portland Music Awards."

"Legos at the Library", Wednesday, December 19, 3PM, Northwest Library. Suggested for ages 5-11. "Bring your mad Lego skills to the library and let your imagination flow. Each month we'll build a new structure to put on display. Bricks and supplies provided. Donations welcome."

"Miniscule and Movable: An Exhibition of Pocket-Sized and Pop-Up Books", running from Thursday, December 20- February 3, Central Library, Collins Gallery. "In the world of book arts, there are two kinds that are among the most charming: small books and pop-ups. Both genres test the limit of bookmaking. Small books at times appear exactly like their oversize relatives having fine bindings and gilded-edged pages but with miniscule texts and images. Pop-ups appear as regular books until they are opened and their movable pieces reveal delightful three-dimensional surprises. Some smaller books were originally made for portability or to accommodate the small hands of children, while others were made small because their content was controversial and they needed to be easily concealed. Pop-ups bring images to life as three-dimensional models hidden inside the pages of a book but are also made simply to entertain."

"Harpist Joanna Pearson", Thursday, December 20, 7PM, Oregon City Library. "Enjoy an evening of enchanting music by local harpist Joanna Pearson."

"Winter Solstice", Thursday, December 20, 4PM, Tryon Creek State Park, free. "Celebrate the changing of seasons with the shortest day and longest night of the year. Tell stories about this special day from cultures around the world, learn the science behind the solstice, drink cider from a Dutch oven, and explore the forest during an evening guided walk."

"Hogwarts Yule Ball", Thursday, December 20, 6:30PM, Sunnyside Library, Clackamas. "Muggles and wizards of all ages are invited to attend the event of the season. Enjoy music, crafts and trivia at this other worldly event. Costume or ball attire encouraged."

"Belmont Builders", Thursday, December 20, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. "Drop in and explore your building prowess with LEGOs, K'NEX and more! We'll supply the building materials … you bring the creativity and imagination. All ages welcome."

"Science of Toys", Thursday, December 20, 10AM, Mad Science Lab, 1522 N. Ainsworth St., Pdx. $15. Preregistration required; register online: "Physics and fun, who would have thought? Did you know that some of your favorite toys work using basic science principles? Use classic toys to discover the science of motion. Learn the science that makes a ball bounce and yo-yo spin. "

"Nature Mobile Visit", Friday, December 21, and Thursday, December 27, 11AM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for grades preK through 5. "Discover nature and science through games and activities hosted by the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District."

"Nighttime Hoots and Howls", Friday, December 21, 5:30PM, Kelley Point Park and Gabriel Park. $3. Preregistration required; register  online."Meet a naturalist for an "after hours" walk! Hear the chirps of birds settling in for the night, the hoots of owls as they search for prey, and other night time activity. Rain or shine - PLEASE be dressed for the weather and leave your pets at home. These twilight strolls are suitable for families, however an adult must accompany all children. Please carry little ones in slings or packs."

"Lego Construction Zone", Sunday, December 23, 1:30PM, Tigard Library Puett Room. Suggested for ages 5 and up. "Drop in to work on your creations with other LEGO® fans. We'll supply the building blocks; you bring your creativity."

"Winter Whale Watching Week", Wednesday, December 26 through Sunday, December 30, Oregon Coast. Free. "Trained volunteers at 24 'Whale Watching Spoken Here' sites help visitors spot gray whales during the winter and spring annual migrations. The volunteers are on duty 10 a.m.-1 p.m. to help visitors see the marine animals and offer information about their migration. This is not the only time you can see the whales. About 18,000 gray whales will pass by in about 4 weeks, from mid-December to mid-January. The same locations are still great viewing spots. The main body of whales is about 5 mile off shore, but some can be seen as close as 1-2 miles off shore. During the southern migration whales seldom stop to eat, but travel steadily to the Baja lagoons of Mexico." Locations listed here: They can be difficult to spot from the shore- binoculars and patience are a must. I would suggest checking out a boat tour and keeping eyes open for other marine life as well.

Dragon Theatre Puppets presents, "The Reluctant Dragon", Thursday, December 27, 2PM, Midland Library. "The cowardly knight, Sir Cans-O-Lot, must prove his knighthood to the village, while the fearsome dragon needs to show everyone that he is actually nice. Together they come up with a plan to have a fake battle in order to trick the village into thinking that the knight has heroically tamed the dragon. Join Dragon Theater to see what happens in this entertaining puppet show."

"Straight from the Bat Lab", Thursday, December 27, 7PM, Silver Falls Library, Silverton, OR. "Come and learn about bats, especially the importance of bats in the ecosystem and how the new emerging disease, White-nose syndrome, is on its way to destroy several species in the North Eastern United States. 'Batty' handouts will be provided that both kids and adults will enjoy. Riley Bernard is a Silverton High Alumnus who is currently working on her PhD in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Dr. Gary McCracken's bat lab." 

"Mad Science", Thursday, December 27, 3PM, Woodland Community Center, 782 Park St., Woodland, WA. "Mad Science will be coming to Woodland to dazzle you with the wonders of scientific discovery."

"Lego Free Play", Friday, December 28, 10:30AM, Cedar Mill Library. Suggested for ages 5 and up. "A drop-in program for kids who enjoy building with Legos!"

"Recycled Wrapping Paper Collage", Friday, December 28, 10AM, Hollywood Library. All ages. "Save your wrapping paper and use it to create a giant mural for the children's bulletin board at Hollywood Library. Drop in for a few minutes or stay as long as you wish. We will provide the backdrop and you can provide the colorful paper."

"Oregon Reniassance Band Holiday Concerts", Friday, December 28, and Saturday, December 29, 7:30PM, Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis St., Pdx; and Sunday, December 30, 3PM, St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, 17405 NE Glisan St., Pdx.. $12-$15 at the door. "Early music in honor of Christmas from England, Scotland, France and Germany performed with voice and on period instruments. The 12 member ensemble, directed by Phil and Gayle Neuman, will perform music of Palestrina, Byrd, Praetorius, Du Caurroy, and others on voices, violin, viol, sackbutts, recorders, krummhorn, cornamusen, racketts, tartold, lute, spinettino, tabor, and bells. A special Magnificat by Charles Pachelbel (son of Johann whose career was in America) will also be featured."

"All Ages Anime: The Secret World of Arriety", Saturday, December 29, 2PM, Tigard Library. "Join us for a screening of Studio Ghibli's tale of a tiny 'borrower' who lives beneath the floorboards of a human house and makes waves when she meets and befriends a human boy. Based on the 1950s book 'The Borrowers' by Mary Norton, this anime puts a contemporary face on a classic story. Japanese snacks, crafts and activities will keep your hands and mouths busy as you enjoy the film."

"Native American New Year's Eve Sobriety Powwow", Monday, December 31, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Pdx. Afternoon session 1PM-5PM, children's games and fun 2PM-4PM, evening session 6PM- 12AM.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Fuyu persimmons.
What can you find at a pick-your-own farm in November?  Why, persimmons!  Sherwood Orchards offered a weekend of persimmon picking, and we couldn't resist!  I love persimmons.  They are an Asian fruit which originated in China and was adopted with enthusiasm in Japan and later here on the west coast.  They ripen well off the tree.  Fuyu persimmons are sweet and mellow, but other varieties must be thoroughly ripened to a custardy softness before eating to avoid their astringent unripe state.  This is persimmon season, and I have been seeing their lovely orange globes at all the grocery stores, but making special trips to Uwajimaya in Beaverton where they have been offering them lately at $1.49/lb, roughly 1/3 to 1/4 the price of other stores.  I had never seen them actually growing, and getting to pick them ourselves was a treat.  Sherwood Orchards packs a lot of varieties in one farm just a stone's throw from downtown Sherwood, where they have been growing fruit for over 150 years.  Their earliest crop is sweet cherries in July, followed by pie cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears, quince, and finally persimmons.  

Hachiya persimmon.